ADT Security vs. Vivint Smart Home

We tested Vivint and ADT systems and combed through the fine print to compare these security giants. Most of the time, Vivint is #1.
Winner
Vivint
Vivint
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Starting from
$29.99/mo.
  • pro
    Emphasis on smart home
  • pro
    Month-to-month contract options
  • pro
    App included with every plan
Best for Google Nest fans
ADT Shield
ADT Home Security
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starting from
$28.99
/mo
  • pro
    147 years of security experience
  • pro
    3-year contract minimum
  • pro
    App included with upgrade

Data as of post date Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

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Vivint home security and ADT are both professionally installed and monitored, but Vivint’s approach to contracts and innovative equipment puts it lightyears ahead of ADT.

Vivint’s smart home and home security equipment are designed in-house so the company can distribute new and innovative products. Both companies offer equipment for home automation and security, but you get more for your money with Vivint Smart Home.

Learn more as we put Vivint Smart Home and ADT Home Security head to head on prices, equipment, policies and more in this review.


Image: SafeWise

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Vivint pros and cons

pro
Vivint pros
pro Option for month-to-month contract
pro App included with every plan
pro Proprietary security and smart home equipment
pro Equipment for purchase
con
Vivint cons
con High overall costs
con Customer service issues
con Higher termination fees

Vivint is best overall

Vivint offers better pricing than ADT and leads the way with smart home technology, offering products that other home security companies haven't even thought of yet—like the Vivint Car Guard. And because Vivint designs, manufactures, and monitors all of its equipment in-house, everything works together seamlessly. 

Learn more in our full Vivint Smart Home Security review.

ADT Home Security pros and cons

pro
ADT pros
pro Strong reputation w/ 147 years of experience
pro Nine monitoring centers
pro Outstanding customer guarantees
con
ADT cons
con Long-term contracts
con Upgrade required for app, life safety monitoring, smart home
con Expensive monthly monitoring
con Equipment for lease

ADT is best for reputation and customer policies

Vivint outpaces ADT in just about everything. Still, there's one bragging right that always sets ADT apart: a 140-year track record. If reputation puts you at ease more than anything, go with ADT. You'll also get slightly better cancellation terms and more generous guarantees.

Learn more in our full ADT Home Security review

How Vivint and ADT Home Security compare

Brand
Lowest monitoring price
Installation fee
Mobile app w/base plan
Contract length
Learn more

$29.99

$99

Icon Yes  LightYes
Month-to-month or 3.5 years and up

$28.99

$99–$199

Icon No  LightNo

3 years

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Vivint vs. ADT similarities

Similarities between ADT and Vivint mostly have to do with its professional installation and monitoring services.

  • Professional installation: Both require professional installation and charge a fee for that service. Expect a $49 flat fee for Vivint installation. ADT installation costs start at $99 for security equipment and cameras then go up to $199 when you add smart home equipment.
  • Custom equipment packages: Neither has prepackaged equipment options. Instead, an installer will tell you during the security consultation what you need. With Vivint, you can pay for equipment up front or roll the cost into your monthly monitoring fee. ADT includes the price of leasing equipment in its monthly monitoring price.
  • Professional monitoring: When something triggers the alarm, a monitoring professional will contact police or emergency services for you. Vivint and ADT both offer monitoring for smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and video. ADT stands out with nine redundant monitoring centers and its longstanding experience.

Vivint vs. ADT differences

Lower monthly costs: Vivint

Vivint and ADT both charge a premium but approach pricing differently. With Vivint, your monthly fee will be lower than it would be with ADT. And even Vivint's most basic packages include remote access to your security system through the Vivint app plus a cellular connection, smoke and CO monitoring, and two-way voice features.

Like Vivint, ADT also offers live video, a mobile app, and home automation, but you’ll pay $62.99 a month for these features and to lease your equipment.

Buy Vivint equipment to avoid a long-term contract

It will cost you if you want to avoid a Vivint contract—you can pay around $1,000 for equipment up front. But unlike ADT, you own your Vivint equipment outright so you’re not paying all that money for equipment you’ll have to give back later.

Vivint's also cheaper for video storage and monitoring

Both companies charge a premium for video. Vivint’s video monitoring and storage plan starts at $44.99 for one camera. Each additional camera costs $5 more a month and tops out at six cameras or $69.99 a month. Still, ADT’s video plans start at $58.99 a month.

Learn more in our Vivint cost and ADT cost guides.

Compare Vivint vs. ADT plans

Plan
Starting price
Smart home integration
Video monitoring
Learn more
Vivint Package 1$29.99/mo.
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Vivint Package 2$39.99/mo.
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon No  LightNo
Vivint Package 3$44.99/mo.
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
ADT Command Tier I Remote Access$36.99/mo.
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
ADT Command Tier II Video Security$58.99/mo.
Icon No  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightYes
ADT Command Tier III Video Security + Home Automation$62.99/mo.
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Better contract flexibility: Vivint

For those who can pay for their equipment up front, Vivint wins for contract flexibility. If you don't finance your Vivint equipment, you can pay for monitoring month by month, making it a great option if you don't want to be stuck with a long-term contract.

But keep in mind that if you do finance the equipment, you'll be locked into a monitoring contract that can last for 3.5 or 5 years, depending on how quickly you want to pay off your equipment.

No matter what kind of ADT system you choose, you'll have to sign a monitoring contract with ADT before your system is installed. Contracts last a minimum of three years, and you'll also have to pay for the cost of leasing the equipment up front.

Better customer service and guarantees: ADT

ADT stands out from Vivint for its customer guarantees, more lenient cancellation policy, and around-the-clock customer service backed by more than 140 years of experience. Its good customer reviews and many loyal long-term customers are solid indications that ADT stands by its products.

ADT offers a six-month money-back guarantee

ADT's six-month money-back guarantee means that if a technical product issue is identified within six months after you sign the contract, you'll receive a full refund, including monitoring fees.

ADT's harsh cancellation penalty is still better than Vivint's

Nobody really wins for ADT or Vivint cancellation terms, though (including you). ADT charges 75% of the remaining contract terms for cancellations. That’s a little more generous than Vivint, which requires you pay back 100% of the remaining balance on your contract if you have one.

Learn more about what to expect in our Vivint cancellation and ADT cancellation guides.

Better security equipment and smart home capabilities: Vivint

It takes only one look at Vivint’s offerings to see that Vivint is all about smart home automation . The company earned top marks on the Best Home Security Systems and the Best Smart Home Security Systems because of its focus on making security smarter with clever features on its cutting-edge devices. And you get all that smart home integration from Vivint for less each month than you would with ADT.

Vivint devices all use Z-Wave technology so they're compatible with a wide variety of other smart products on the market, including Amazon Echo, Nest®, Google Home, and doorbell cameras.

Vivint outdoor camera

Image: Vivint outdoor camera, SafeWise

ADT Equipment Guide

Image: ADT Pulse camera SafeWise

Like Vivint, ADT offers home automation, but you’ll pay a bit more for these features. The equipment that comes with ADT's cellular plans are Z-Wave and Alexa compatible so you can control your system with your voice.

Learn more in our Vivint equipment and ADT equipment guides.

Winner: Vivint beats out ADT

If you're looking for cheaper prices, flexible financing, and shorter contract options, Vivint comes out on top in this face-off.

  • Winner: Vivint provides proprietary smart devices with reliable monitoring for a lower price. With Vivint you'll own the equipment, pay less each month, and have the option to go contract-free.
  • Second place: We love ADT's strong reputation but it ultimately prices a lot of folks out. That said, if you're ready to settle into a long-term relationship with a company with a great track record, ADT might be the better choice.

Still undecided? Read our full Vivint and ADT reviews to learn more.

How we decided: Vivint vs. ADT

Vivint Sky Panel 2. Image: SafeWise

To determine which brand won out, we tested security systems from both companies. We also visited Vivint headquarters and an ADT technician training center and combined that with hours of research, reading terms and contracts, asking company reps questions, and hearing what real customers have to say.

Learn more about how we review brands on our methodology page.

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Katie McEntire
Written by
Katie McEntire
As a renter, pet-owner, and woman living alone, Katie McEntire takes safety seriously. She’s tested devices like pet cameras, home security systems, and GPS trackers in her own home and devices in the name of safety. In addition to testing, writing, and reviewing for SafeWise, she also makes videos for the site’s YouTube channel. She’s been featured on publications like TechGuySmartBuy, Forbes, Healthy Moms, and Digital Care. Katie has a Bachelor’s degree in Technical Writing from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. She’s held previous writing positions at Overstock.com and Top Ten Reviews.

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